Up Front by Emma Hart

Read Post

Up Front: Absence of Malice

320 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 13 Newer→ Last

  • Ngaruna Kapinga,

    It's the intrigue of them, don't you think? They're open-ended, riddles almost, so you are hooked into thinking about what they mean - quite different to being told what to do.

    I'm not convinced teenagers have the attention span to interpret these types of questions for what they are. I'm certainly not undermining teenage intelligence by any means but while 'open-ended riddles' may be though compelling they can also have the opposite effect of being quite confusing.

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    I skipped chapel almost every morning in my final year for a sleep in. I figured if everyone (including my parents) was facing the alter, and fearing God, no one was going miss a worthless sinner except the school chaplain. Having paid close attention to his sermons the previous four years, I felt fairly confident, regardless of whether he noticed my absence or not, that he was of the live and let live bent, and any loose ends could be sewn up in confession. besides I knew all the songs already.

    and God willing, I was right.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    but wag class? what would I want to do that for?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    __So there goes any anecdotal correlation between wagging / bunking and high grades.__

    Never said there was one.

    Never said that you did. But given that we're all quite good at reading texts and subtexts, and drawing meaning from the juxtaposition of facts, and lots of people were putting "wagging school" and "high achieving" together, it does seem worthwhile pointing out that these are intersecting sets, not set and subset.

    The conclusion of the premises, "high achieving" and "wagging school" is that we need to examine the reasons for truancy closely, and not assume that there is a blanket explanation. Which is exactly the point you make in your post, and exactly the point that Anne Tolley doesn't seem to understand.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Back then the official thinking was parents should not teach kids to read before they started school but should leave it to the experts.

    I'm trying to figure out how one would stop a kid who was ready to learn to read from doing it themselves. Unless you just stop reading to them, never answer their questions and remove all printed material from their vicinity. I can't imagine that was advocated even back in the day.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I'm trying to figure out how one would stop a kid who was ready to learn to read from doing it themselves.

    I asked my mother (who btw was a teacher) how to teach my children to read. Her response was 'good god, how do you stop them?'.

    I was determined that my son was going to be able to read, write and count before he started school, as insurance against him not actually getting taught. He's of a temperament that delights in knowing all the answers (and obeying all the rules), so he's never been bored. It did nonetheless take his new entrant teacher two months to realise that he could read.

    He's been lucky enough the last couple of years to have a teacher who'll work to extend him and give him interesting, thought-provoking work, and a peer group who can match him.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    We were lucky that Crispin's teacher had worked out he could read within a week and had formally assessed him within two weeks (even I was surprised by how well he actually could read). He had two terms of just reading every suitable book the school possessed at which point they reined him in a bit and got him working on comprehension and retelling.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    McFly? Anybody home McFly?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm trying to figure out how one would stop a kid who was ready to learn to read from doing it themselves.

    I found school tremendously boring for the first few years. It led to behavioural problems, not paying attention, hanging out with the 'wrong sort' etc.

    Which you can trace to already knowing most things that they were teaching well before they started to teach it to the class.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Which you can trace to already knowing most things that they were teaching well before they started to teach it to the class.

    Which is not a reason to hold a kid back but__ is__ a very good illustration of why you should teach kids as individuals and not expect 30 little people to all be working at the same level all the time.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Which is not a reason to hold a kid back but is a very good illustration of why you should teach kids as individuals and not expect 30 little people to all be working at the same level all the time.

    That's true, but if you do have 30 kids, it's just not going to happen. How many minutes of personal attention could each child get every week?

    I was way too self-educated to get anything out of school until I encountered subjects where reading things myself didn't work so well (eg foreign languages). I spent most class time daydreaming and then annoying teachers by producing the right answer when called on anyway. I got very little out of school academically except a counter-productive faith in my own cleverness and a profound mistrust of authority. In retrospect, I feel very sorry for my teachers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    (I also became a master at hiding whatever book I was currently reading under my desklid or in my lap or inside a ring binder).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I got very little out of school academically except a counter-productive faith in my own cleverness and a profound mistrust of authority. In retrospect, I feel very sorry for my teachers.

    What Stephen said.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    All this talk of wagging has made me wonder: are truants more likely to end up self-employed?

    As a non-truant, eldest child, who ended up in one of the professions (law), before leaving it for a more creative, less mentally constrained life and the precariousity of self-employment, I wonder if those who truant seek out the individual path at an earlier age?

    One would hope that lawyers come from those who follow rules, because they are rules, given the ethical responsibility of the profession.

    My reasons for non-truanting were similar to Isaac: my parents were teachers, I saw teachers as human beings (and the people our family mixed with socially), and generally was on their side.

    It also helped that, when bored, I could day-dream and pass the time amiably enough.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Woz at the Skybatch,

    I got very little out of school academically except a counter-productive faith in my own cleverness and a profound mistrust of authority. In retrospect, I feel very sorry for my teachers.

    Goodness, that hit the nail on the head. This year I went to my school's 50th reunion and was surprised (and somewhat disappointed) to discover I had nothing I wanted to say to my teachers.

    Mt Maunganui College 78-82. (Hey Karen!) Definately wagging. Especially math which seemed to get less applicable to the real world I intended to inhabit every year. However, wagging was much harder to accomplish in 7th form year - the entire form was less than 20 students and some of my classes I was one of only two...

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Which is not a reason to hold a kid back but is a very good illustration of why you should teach kids as individuals and not expect 30 little people to all be working at the same level all the time.

    I'm sure a lot of teachers would be delighted to do that if they had 12 rather than 30 to deal with.

    And, I'm in favour of that idea to some extent. But I think that there are reasons why we have a curriculum and teaching set things at set ages. Yes it's not perfect, but it means that we can set basic expectations for what our kids learn in school and know that if those basic standards aren't met, there's can be a system for dealing with both the kid, and the teacher. There are economies of scale, which means we don't have to employ a whole heap more teachers to teach the same number of kids. It's a blunt instrument, but at least it is an instrument in the education system and I suspect that some of the reasons for having it still hold.

    And not every parent can be, or wants to be, that actively engaged with their teacher and their child's education. Some parents would just like schools to do a decent job at educating their kids without having to devote vast amounts of time to it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    All this talk of wagging has made me wonder: are truants more likely to end up self-employed?

    Interesting question. I was thinking more in terms of what this thread says about the people who wash up here: we seem to have high-achievers who truanted, and high-achievers who didn't.

    Although, as I said, I wasn't really a truant, just someone who understood the system well enough to duck things where necessary. My high-achieving tended to mitigate my occasional tendency to get myself in trouble by doing reckless things.

    I once wrote a notice for the school newsletter in the name of a teacher who was apparently searching for his lost copy of The Illustrated Kama Sutra. It so nearly went in ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    All this talk of wagging has made me wonder: are truants more likely to end up self-employed?

    I dunno if my self-employment is down to my truanting, my weird sleep patterns, my protracted illness, or having a special-needs child. I have never been very comfortable working in a hugely structured environment IF those structures don't make sense to me. One of my jobs is as a technical writer and involves codifying and constructing structure - making and explaining rules. I think having someone who's a bit of a rebel in that job is well handy.

    I find contract work suits me because I'm prone to fits of intense activity followed by fits of intense arsing about. I can put up with any amount of ridiculousness in the short term.

    My partner (also not the most devoted to his schooling) and I both have a problem with not understanding when things are 'not our job'. We're both too prone to tell higher-ups that what they're requiring us to do is dumb and should be done differently.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I was thinking more in terms of what this thread says about the people who wash up here: we seem to have high-achievers who truanted, and high-achievers who didn't.

    Speak for thine self, Mr Brown. No high achiever here. Good brain, lacks application, I think would have summed me up, nicely.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I dunno if my self-employment is down to my truanting, my weird sleep patterns, my protracted illness, or having a special-needs child. I have never been very comfortable working in a hugely structured environment IF those structures don't make sense to me.

    I've never liked having to be somewhere on principle, and I dislike the wasted time and endless distractions of going to an office to work. I like to have control over the use of my time.

    One of my jobs is as a technical writer and involves codifying and constructing structure - making and explaining rules. I think having someone who's a bit of a rebel in that job is well handy.

    I seem to have ended up being good at codifying complex information in a different way. It was one of the things I enjoyed about writing my Listener columns -- the challenge of relating something important, but complex and jargon-ridden, in as clear a way as possible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    True wealth is owning your own time...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I've never liked having to be somewhere on principle, and I dislike the wasted time and endless distractions of going to an office to work. I like to have control over the use of my time.

    Myself, I'm a lazy, lazy person, who's happy to just go along with things and fit into situations, hence no real wagging at school. I was always a good student (one of your "high-achievers", I guess) though, so I could do well without putting in major effort.

    Where it bit me in the bum was after school - cruising along meant I had put little thought into what would come next. I ended up going for Engineering at university, since that seemed to offer the easiest career path: do Engineering, be an engineer - no need to think about what sort of Science to do or what job I would be able to get with an Arts degree (even though it was the Arts I liked best). One-and-a-bit years of a BE later and I knew I'd made the wrong choice. I changed to Arts and went back to cruising, doing subjects I liked best (and was best at) without worrying about what sort of job it'd get me.

    As it turned out, an MA in Philosophy turned out to be useful in getting me a career in tech. writing (snap) - all that critical analysis and essays explaining complex concepts simply. Now I work to someone else's time, but IT jobs are always less regimented than mroe corporate occupations, so I get by just fine...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    It was one of the things I enjoyed about writing my Listener columns -- the challenge of relating something important, but complex and jargon-ridden, in as clear a way as possible.

    You're a geek translator, my man, and a top-flight one too.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I'm trying to figure out how one would stop a kid who was ready to learn to read from doing it themselves. Unless you just stop reading to them, never answer their questions and remove all printed material from their vicinity. I can't imagine that was advocated even back in the day.

    I knew the alphabet and I think some stuff, but how much was just memorising and how much was working out what the words actually said I don't know. I do remember pulling Mum up when she tried to skip bits of 'The House at Pooh Corner' - my favourite book when I was five. (Eeyore RULES)

    Interesting theme in the discussion around schooling being geared to different learning speeds. It is a real problem even for individual kids, let alone classes of 30 (or 40 in my day, at primary school anyway).

    I skipped a year at primary school, went from upper primers to Standard 2. They gave us some test, decided about four of us were bright and shoved us up a class.

    Which worked quite well, initially. It was the first time I remember feeling stimulated by what was going on in the classroom.

    But in the process some fairly basic maths was skipped - and of course maths is often not a strength of primary teachers anyway. It was Form 2 before I could do long division, for example.

    The odd thing was - well, I think its odd - I got a really high score in maths in those PAT tests they used to give at the start of the year in around Std 4-Form 2.

    I used to love doing those tests. That sounds show-offy but its not - the idea of doing well or not doing well never entered my head. They were just fun. A lot of time, the most stimulating thing all year.

    I never considered myself a high achiever. I just wasn't that into external achievement, I was just into Not Being Bored.

    This is one big reason why I'm a journalist - its a job where, if you're bored, its your job to go and find something not boring. (Mind you, I'm into things like tax policy, economics and superannuation, which would send some people slumbering. One man's Mede is another man's Persian, as it says in the Bible)

    I got some very good marks in English and History, but the other subjects were a bit more umm...well, my UE range was in the eighties for English and History, down to 28 for biology. And I think they'd give you 25% just for knowing what a semi-permeable membrane was. (a damn good metaphor, I've always thought)

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The odd thing was - well, I think its odd - I got a really high score in maths in those PAT tests they used to give at the start of the year in around Std 4-Form 2.

    I used to love doing those tests. That sounds show-offy but its not - the idea of doing well or not doing well never entered my head. They were just fun. A lot of time, the most stimulating thing all year.

    I liked them a lot too. Not least, because I felt good at them, but also because they were tests you didn't and couldn't prepare for, which were my kind of tests. I picked the multi-choice options in School C too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 13 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.